Cyclone Joaninha in Rodrigues

Intense tropical cyclone JOANINHA passed at its closest to Rodrigues on Tuesday 26 March 2019. Some areas experienced wind gusts of more than 170 km/h and waves over 12 metres high.

The cyclone caused unprecedented damage to the island’s infrastructure (houses flooded, main roads blocked, power outage of the entire electricity network, etc.) and to local agriculture. In the wake of the cyclone 471 people had taken shelter at emergency centres.

During the pre-emergency phase Mauritius Red Cross mobilised fifteen volunteers to work with the various emergency response partners, providing camp beds stored in PIROI’s contingency warehouse in Rodrigues.

During the cyclone, Mauritius Red Cross opened a permanent line of communication with the Rodrigues branch coordinator to monitor developments and respond effectively to those affected. PIROI’s response forms part of the action plan drawn up by Mauritius Red Cross in partnership with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). The French Red Cross, through PIROI, was Mauritius Red Cross’ technical and financial partner for this operation.

The priorities of the Mauritius Red Cross response were to:

  • Provide food parcels and educational resources
  • Rebuild houses that had been impacted or destroyed, but better
  • Reduce the risk of waterborne and vector-borne diseases

To achieve these priorities, MuRC distributed hygiene kits, school supplies, and housing reconstruction materials. It also signed agreements with several food distributors, provided vouchers to those affected so that they could purchase basic necessities, and trained Red Cross volunteers to facilitate awareness-raising sessions on hygiene promotion and waterborne and vector-borne diseases.

All MuRC efforts were implemented in cooperation with local emergency managers and various government ministries, including the Rodrigues Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Committee (RDRRMC) and the Rodrigues Emergency Operations Centre (REOC).

The contingency plan of the Rodrigues branch of Mauritius Red Cross was revised after the cyclone, taking into account the lessons learned.

This operation received financial support from Reunion Island’s Departmental Council.